Playing with Snow II

Playing with Snow II

16th of December 2018
Luuk Scheers, Lisa Scheers, Lotte van der Valk, Jona Claveaux
WG terrein, Amsterdam

Snowball Fight

A snowball fight is a physical game in which balls of snow are thrown with the intention of hitting somebody else. The game is similar to dodgeball in its major factors, though typically less organized. This activity is primarily played during winter when there is sufficient snowfall.

A snowball fight played for fun often has the following characteristics (Wikipedia, n.d.):

  • There is crude formation of “teams”, usually two groups of opponents throwing at each other.
  • Those in a fight often do not behave malevolently; a target is usually not viciously assaulted by snowballs.
  • There is minimal physical contact, aside from perhaps wrestling.
  • In contrast to other forms of fighting, there is usually no intention of bodily harm.
  • Construction and use of snow forts is usually permitted. 

Luuk, Lisa, Jona and Lotte have additional rules: you should not throw the snowball too close to the other person and you should not unexpectedly attack someone else from behind. The boys behave more aggressively towards each other then to the girls  and the oldest guy is not using all his force/power (in other words, he takes the others into account

Sometimes they play individually, sometimes in pairs (boys against  girls). The game consists of: making good snowballs, hiding behind a tree, bush or car, tracking the other, dodging when a snowball is coming at you and attacking at the right moment.  Thus: attack, retreat and prepare for another attack. .


Making a Snowman

How to make a snowman:
1. Pack a snowball with your hands  for te bottom section.
2. Roll the ball along the ground
3. Form the middle section.
4. Lift the middle section onto the bottom section.
5. Make the head.
6. Pack some snow between the different sections.
7. Find materials such as twigs, leafs and berries to make arms, nose, eyes, mouth and buttons of the imaginary jacket (for some strange reason snow men do have buttons on their belly). 

Interesting enough, the four teenagers want to destroy the snow man as soon as it is finished. In fact, the destroying of the snowman is as much fun as the making of it. 

Making a snowman is a good example of participatory sense-making. In many ways it  reminds me of dance improvisation: every-one is involved in the task but not in an identical way. Every body contributes to the making of the snowman, however each in a slightly different role. Solo’s, duets and  group work interchange with each other.

I notice the following things:

  • coordination of movements;
  • rhythmically adjusting the movements to each other and the objects (snow balls): synchronising body postures and movements;
  • sharing same momentum;
  • clear compositional structures (working for example with distance and proximity; 
  • individual acts that  contribute to the group;
  • shared attention and shared focus;
  • serious attention to having fun;
  • physical problem-solving (the four teenagers hardly speak to each other);
  • an opening of attention: both to the work space/environment and the others
  • ‘each person is at once responsive to others and independent of them, ready to be changed by, but not absorbed into, another person’s activity. The skill lies in being able to include what another person is doing while not losing one’s own momentum of though’ (Tufnell and Crickmay, 1990, p.72)
  • each participant is an autonomous agent
  • the movements are attuned to  the making of the snowman: the bodies unfold and shape themselves around this third entity (the snowman)
  • it’s a self-structuring process.





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